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Culture notes: Georgia Shakespeare thinks bigger with ‘14 schedule; Fox adds 3 summer films

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

After a year of careful recalibration of its business model that led to a tightened 2013 schedule, Georgia Shakespeare plans to expand its offerings in 2014.

The just-announced season will feature five all-new productions.

“We’ve heard a great deal of feedback from our supporters who have made it clear that they want more theater from us and more Shakespeare from us,” producing artistic director Richard Garner said in a statement. “We are rebuilding in a smart, intelligent way that will make us truly sustainable. … We are ready to move forward with our freshest, boldest work yet.”

The ‘14 productions include (final dates still to be determined):

  • June: Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.”
  • July: “One Man, Two Guvnors,” Richard Bean’s adaption of “Servant of Two Masters,” a 2011 hit on London’s West End that received seven Tony nominations after its Broadway transfer in 2012.
  • July: “The Frog Prince” (family show), Atlanta playwright Melody Long’s adaption of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
  • October: “Henry V,” Shakespeare’s original “band of brothers” history play.
  • December: “A Holiday Panto,” done in the spirit of the traditional English holiday “pantomime.” and something distinct from holiday chestnuts presented by other metro companies, according to Garner. It will be developed with one of Georgia Shakespeare’s university partners announced earlier this year.

A few notes about the what Georgia Shakespeare is planning:

  • The company will stage “As You Like It” as its annual Shakespeare in the Park production in Piedmont Park but then will for the first time move a park show to its regular home at the Conant Center on the Oglethorpe University campus. Garner explained that the troupe determined that its audiences for the different sites are different and that the quick transfer will offer it the chance to reach both.

Georgia Shakespeare is also in talks with potential partners to tour the Shakespeare in the Park production beyond Atlanta, possibly as soon as ‘14.

  • Though its first two plays will share a cast, and though “One Man, Two Guvnors” and “The Frog Prince” may have some overlapping dates on the schedule, Georgia Shakespeare does not plan to return to its long-time practice of presenting in “rep” (rotating its shows on a nightly basis).

“We believe that simplifying our approach to summer will make it much easier for our audiences to see our shows,” Garner said.

  • The company also announced that it had raised $75,000 during the “Meta Challenge” during the four-week run of “Metamorphoses” this summer, well exceeding the goal to achieve a $50,000 match from two anonymous donors.
  • Finally, the 28-year-old troupe, clearly stabilizing after its “Save Georgia Shakespeare” campaign that surpassed its $500,000 goal in early 2012, said it projects to present as much or more theater in 2015 than it has in any year in its history.

Information: 404-504-1473, www.gashakespeare.org.

MOVIES
Three recent titles added to Fox film fest

The Fox Theatre has added three recent flicks to complete its 2013 Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival lineup: “Iron Man 3″ (7:30 p.m Aug. 16), “The Heat” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 17) and the Georgia-filmed “Zombieland” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 29). Coming up more immediately at the 1929 movie palace are “Django Unchained” (7:30 p.m. Friday), “The Croods” (2 p.m. Saturday) and “Lawrence of Arabia” (4 p.m. Sunday). Tickets ($10; $5 ages 12 and under and 65 and up). 660 Peachtree St. N.E. 1-855-285-8499, www.foxatltix.com. HOWARD POUSNER

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